MATSUSHIRO Tourism Association


Matsushiro in
Nagano City,
Bursting with
History and Culture


Located in the southern area of Nagano City, Matsushiro is rich in history, known as the castle town of the Sanada clan, the domain worth a substantial 100,000 “koku” (a measurement of rice). Surrounded on four sides by mountains and the Chikuma River, the Northern Alps and the Hokushin (Northern Nagano) Five Peaks can be seen in the distance. Delectable cuisine, relaxing hot springs, samurai history – a deeply rewarding visit awaits you in Matsushiro.

Historic Ruins

Matsushiro Castle Ruins

Matsushiro Castle was built by Shingen Takeda as a base to fight against Kenshin Uesugi.

Sanada Family Residence

The palace of a feudal lord in the Edo period with a beautiful garden. It is a national historic site.

Literary and Military Arts School

The school opened in 1855 by the Matsushiro domain to teach both the literary and military arts to the children of samurais.

Zozan Shrine

Zozan Shrine was built in 1938 for Shozan Sakuma, a pioneer at the end of the Edo period.

Sanada Treasures Museum

The museum exhibits various artifacts such as swords, armor, and other items that tells the story of the Sanada family, the feudal lord (daimyo) of the Matsushiro domain.

Former Shirai Family Residence Front Gate

The Shirai family was middle-ranking samurai of the Matsushiro domain. The front gate of the Shirai family residence has been moved to its current location and restored. It is also used as a free resting space.

Former Higuchi Family Residence

The Higuchi family, a vassal of the Sanada family, served as a watchman. The residence was an official residence of a feudal samurai of the Matsushiro domain in the Edo period.

Jozan Yamadera's Residence

Jozan Yamadera's Residence, built during the Edo Period, was the home of a middle-ranking samurai. Its Nagayamon-style entrance gate is the largest remaining among the samurai houses surrounding Matsushiro Castle.

Zozan Underground

Zozan Underground is a large underground bunker which was excavated at the end of the Second World War as a site to relocate government agencies.

Zozan Memorial Museum

The museum exhibits the property of Zozan Sakuma who had the idea of unifying the Imperial Court and the Shogunate, and advocated the opening up of the country to the wider world.

Former Yokota Family Residence

The birthplace of Ei Wada, the author of the "Tomioka Diary," which is a record of the pioneers in women's social advancement during the Meiji Era.

Daieiji Temple

The family temple of Princess Komatsu who was a daughter of Tadakatsu Honda, an adopted daughter of leyasu Tokunaga, and the lawful wife of Nobuyuki Sanada.

Teramachi Merchant House

The former residence of the Kanebako family, a merchant family that ran pawn shops from the late Edo Period up to the early Showa Era.

Renjyoji Temple

Renjyoji Temple is a famous temple of Nichiren sect of Bud-dhism. It is said that Nichiren Shonin visited the temple and stayed overnight when he was deported to Sado Island.

Former Maejima Family Residence

The main building of the Maejima family, which served the Sanada family for generations, is the oldest surviving mansion of a feudal samurai of the Matsushiro domain.

Chokokuji Temple

The family temple of the Sanada family. The graves of successive Sanada lords are located here.

Bell Tower of the Former Matsushiro Domain

The bell informed people of the time and warned of fires in the Edo Period.

Former Yazawa Family Residence Front Gate

The Yazawa family was the top-ranking samurai of the Matsushiro domain. The prestigious front gate of the Yazawa residence is reminiscent of a castle gate.



Japan's history and culture comes alive in Matsushiro. Here you can try your hand at Armor activities, wearing a Kimono, formal Japanese Tea Ceremony, and other traditional cultural activities. Come experience Samurai-related culture and activities that can only be found at Matsushiro.

Armor Activities

Armor Activities

Sanada Himo Cord Making

Sanada Himo Cord Making

Formal Tea Ceremony

Formal Tea Ceremony

Kimono Wearing

Kimono Wearing

Traditional Martial Arts Activities

Traditional Martial Arts Activities


Matsushiro is blessed with abundant nature. Apricots and Nagaimo Yams have been grown here in this fertile land for ages. They are featured in local specialties such as apricot okowa sticky rice and craft beer

Apricots, Apricot okowa sticky rice

Apricots, Apricot okowa sticky rice

Craft beer

Craft beer

Nagaimo yams

Nagaimo yams

Hot spring
/ Culture

Matsushiro blossomed as a Castle town and is known for Matsushiro hot spring and the local style of pottery, Matsushiro-yaki. Overlooking the town is the cone-shaped Mt. Minakami which is an ancient lava dome and is known as the world's oldest pyramid. It is home to many mysterious myths and legends

Matsushiro hot spring

Matsushiro hot spring

Matsushiro-yaki pottery

Matsushiro-yaki pottery

Mt. Minakami

Mt. Minakami


1-Day Samurai Food & Life Tour: Oyaki, Samurai Residences, and Katana Practice

2-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Samurai Experience & Zenko-ji 'Shukubo' Stay

(Special Event) Nagano's Hidden Samurai Town & Tomyo Lantern Festival Tour




Nearby Attractions

Zenkoji Temple

Jigokudani Wild Snow Monkey Park

Togakushi Shrine


Matsumoto Castle